Ruminations: Seattle: Coffee, Donuts and Another Life

Two days ago was National Donut Day. We have decent (actually really good) donuts in Lafayette, but certain foods oftentimes taste better when you have memories to attach them to. When I was little, I really loved Shipley Do-Nuts in Alexandria. Not only were they packed with sugar plus jam or icing or creamy stuff, but because I used to get them with Mom. She would get coffee or a diet Coke. I would always get a Coke.

In Seattle, this wasn’t the first Top Pot I went to. I didn’t even know about this one. When a certain boyfriend and I lived on Lower Queen Anne, we’d pass by the Top Pot on 5th Avenue. It had big windows to let the grey PacNW light in. There was an upstairs lined with built-in bookshelves; that’s where the wall plugs were. I say was/were, but it’s all still there. Sometimes the line was too long or there were no tables, so we’d have to figure something else out. And even when we broke up and he moved out, I went there with Nana when she came to visit. Although he lived nowhere near me then, I was always scared/hopeful I’d run into him.

It’s funny how some feelings don’t change, no matter how much you know they aren’t necessarily good for you.

I used to live a few blocks up from this particular Top Pot. It’s on Summit Avenue, on Capitol Hill. It’s smaller than the one downtown, but it still has bookshelves and the same damn fine coffee and donuts; the sour cream old-fashioned ones are my favorite. I spent a lot of time in this location, caffeinating over Americanos or Soy Mochas, eating old-fashioneds (glazed or cinnamoned), crullers or apple fritters, working, reading, writing, dreaming and contemplating life or my next move. I don’t think I ever ran into him, the ex, here. I did once or twice at a small café down the street, but I hardly ever went there. I ran into another guy friend here quite frequently who used to live in Lafayette but had been living in Seattle for a few years. But we never dated.

This one girl used to work here that eventually moved to Morgan City, Louisiana. She was getting married to some guy there. Whenever I’d see her working, I’d go to another café. She was rude and obnoxious. When she finally left, I was happy. She could move to Morgan City with her snootiness and delusions about riding her bike around a Louisiana town in the middle of summer for all I cared as long as I never had to see her again.

I bought the Top Pot cookbook, Hand-Forged Doughnuts: Secrets and Recipes for the Home Baker the last time I was in town. If I couldn’t buy the donuts whenever I wanted, at least I could learn to make them. I did. They didn’t turn out like those at the café. If anything, I made a better mess than batch of donuts. But the effort was there. And I’ll try them again one day. Oh love, if at first you don’t succeed …


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